“…until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)
This is the point of being connected to Jesus. It brings us together to share in one faith in one person (Jesus) and calls us to be transformed to look like Jesus in all we are, say and do.
This week begins a time of reflecting on the core of who we are as a people. We’ll start with our purpose – grounded in Christ and sent to be a blessing. When our council was looking at scriptures to clarify each of our guiding principles, we noticed that this passage from Ephesians covers most of them and relates clearly to why we are here. It is Paul’s way of sharing our purpose, not only as a congregation but for the whole church in every time and place.
The verse above also puts us to the test. It begs the question, “How are we doing?” After all, if we are supposed to be in the process of becoming, “the full measure of the stature of Christ,” then as we live, breath, work and speak then people ought to see something that resembles Christ. This is, on the one hand, obvious. But on the other hand, it is also something that doesn’t happen without intentionality.
First, each of us is called to join in the work of Jesus. It is why each person exists and why each of us has been called by Christ to be a part of the church. So, when people pay attention to you, do they see and hear something that looks and sounds like Jesus?
Second, each of us is unique and brings talents as well as shortcomings to the life we live. That means we are incomplete without each other. One reason the church is referred to in scripture as “the body of Christ” is because none of us can fully represent Christ for the world or for each other. It is a communal thing to look and sound like Jesus, too. So, when people pay attention to us, do they see a people who look and sound like Jesus?
Often, we in the church take this for granted and don’t raise the bar on ourselves. But the world around us instinctively seems to know that Christian people ought to in some way look like Christ. They are watching and wondering how we will do. God may love us and not be putting us to a test. But the world is watching, and in their eyes, every time we speak and act it is either a chance for us to look like Jesus or to look like something/someone else.
May you individually and we as a faith community continue to grow into the full measure of the stature of Christ.